What To Build

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The fun part of starting a new project is that you have a blank slate and can build whatever you like.

I’m leaning towards (and almost definitely will) build an Interstate. I love the lines of that bike and I like the look of the larger tank.

I’m getting my ‘73 frame and engine cases delivered in about a week and it’s getting real.

This is a crazy thought...there is a rear seat and cowl on eBay from a John Player Commando (below). It looks pretty cool.

I really like the JNP bikes, but all I’d be doing is building an replica of a replica.

What do you guys think? Again, I’m 80% on an Interstate, but these do look pretty cool.



 

lazyeye6

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The issue is more about what you intend to do with the completed bike. An Interstate can be a comfortable upright posture touring
machine with long range between gasoline refills. The JPN replica will be hunched over ergonomics not suited to road trips.
If your primary goal is visual appreciation, do whatever floats your boat and who cares about anyone else's opinion.

If it was MY project, I would build a Roadster.
 

texasSlick

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It should ALWAYS be about what YOU want.

Slick

....... but if you are willing to build one for me, I'll take a Roadster....... with RH shift please.
 
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I like the Roadster but its fuel tank size limits range between stops. That's not necessarily a bad thing unless you will be riding in areas with limited gas stations, but I decided the range was just too short and I always like the fastback look so I converted my roadster to a fastback. That added another gallon+ over the roadster though, of course, not as much added range as the interstate. The downside for the fastback is that it's a bigger conversion as far as necessary parts. But for me the range is "just right" and to my eye it was Norton's best look! :)

BUT, as noted, it's your bike so pick the look you like! The neat thing about the Commando is that it's technically easy to convert between the models - you could have a roadster, a fastback, an interstate, AND a hi-rider and switch among them in an hour or two at most IF you have the parts! :)
 
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I don’t have anything yet, not even a tank (actually I have a roadster tank that I’ve had a long time but it’s fiberglass and I want a steel tank). But I’m gathering parts as we speak.
 
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Roadster tank is too small and gives me range anxiety ;) , Interstate is too long with the std footrests and pushes me too far back and my hips lock. So Interstate with rearsets but Euro bars not clip on's works for me as a solution, you can combine that with a JPN rear section or one of RGM's Manx seats for Commando with a few mods so it uses the normal ears and not the silly rear hand rail mounting loops.



Left the plastic sheet on the alloy plate, there were 6mm captive nuts cast into the seat.

 
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The issue is more about what you intend to do with the completed bike. An Interstate can be a comfortable upright posture touring
machine with long range between gasoline refills. The JPN replica will be hunched over ergonomics not suited to road trips.
If your primary goal is visual appreciation, do whatever floats your boat and who cares about anyone else's opinion.

If it was MY project, I would build a Roadster.
i just love riding. If I were to do a long range ride, I’d take my new Ducati Xdiavel. The Norton is just a toy.
 

Fast Eddie

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You’ve nailed it then...

It’s “just a toy”... so why build another interstate (yawn)...

JPN based replica will be very cool and a great toy.

One beauty of the Commando is that when you’re bored, or too old and stiff to enjoy the JPN, you can interstate-ise it in a weekend.

I’m looking forward to the JPN build thread already...!
 
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To each his own...

I have both interstate and roadster tanks, seats, and side panels. I also have a medium sized fairing and QD hard bags. I don't think the roadster look is so special. I think the interstate look is just as nice. I went with interstate package purely for the extra fuel, being that I only fuel up at non-ethanol gas stations... I'm pragmatic
 
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There are a number of different Interstate tanks.
The last version in steel might be the smallest. A friend has a Fibreglass Interstate tank on his 73. It's an enormous tank, too big in my estimation. The difference is mainly in width. The extra width detracts from the aesthetic. He says it holds 6 Imperial gallons. The ethanol problem is another reason to avoid the big FG tank. Then there is that seam down the middle.
There may have been an earlier 6 Imperial gallon steel tank as well, I'm not certain on that.
The smaller late steel Interstate tank is slimmed down quite a bit but still holds around 5.25 Imperial gallons.
It's enough for a safe 250-275 mile range.
That's plenty and it looks decent.
When I take the Interstate on long tours with friends, the Interstate is the mother ship for refueling the other bikes when they run out of gas in the middle of nowhere. We have used that capability a couple of times now.

Glen
 
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maylar

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I bought a roadster because it was on the dealer's showroom floor in May of 1975. There was a MKIII interstate too in white / red / blue that I liked very much but it was an additional $500 at the time. After almost 45 years my back doesn't let me ride more than 100 miles without a stop, so fuel range isn't a problem for me.
 
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It all depends on where you ride. Some of the best motorcycling roads in North America have long stretches, over 100 miles between fuel pumps. Sometimes when you get to the fuel stop, the pumps aren't there, were taken out last year. That's when the Interstate tank is a life saver.

On the road to Winthrop, a 90 mile distance from closest fuel. A hard climb all the way , from sea level to about 6000 ft. Lots of hairpins and full throttle fun.
Would a Roadster tank make it? Maybe, maybe not. It would be a worry you don't need for this run.

 
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lcrken

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Roadster tank is too small and gives me range anxiety ;) , Interstate is too long with the std footrests and pushes me too far back and my hips lock. So Interstate with rearsets but Euro bars not clip on's works for me as a solution, you can combine that with a JPN rear section or one of RGM's Manx seats for Commando with a few mods so it uses the normal ears and not the silly rear hand rail mounting loops.
I'm with kommando on this one. I've had several Interstates, and the seating position is too far back to be comfortable with stock footrests and bars. It's become worse as I get older, so I've converted both my MK3 Interstates to roadsters. The small tank capacity is a PITA, but I can live with it, even to the point of carrying a gas can in strap-on saddle bags. The Interstate with rear sets and lower bars also sounds pretty good, but that's one combo I never tried. On the other hand, if it's only for short rides, pretty much anything would work. Hard to argue with the look of the JPN bikes. If you are up for a bit more work, what about a PR replica? Or a fastback replica? My next Commando project, if I get to do another one, will probably be a flat track style for the street, or maybe a desert racer style. So many possibilities, so little time.

In any case, whatever you decide on, it should be a fun project.

Ken
 

rvich

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You could get a ComAtlas tank (assuming Ross Thompson will still make you one) and do a long range fastback or JPN hybrid.
 
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cliffa

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The fun part of starting a new project is that you have a blank slate and can build whatever you like.

I’m leaning towards (and almost definitely will) build an Interstate. I love the lines of that bike and I like the look of the larger tank.

I’m getting my ‘73 frame and engine cases delivered in about a week and it’s getting real.

This is a crazy thought...there is a rear seat and cowl on eBay from a John Player Commando (below). It looks pretty cool.

I really like the JNP bikes, but all I’d be doing is building an replica of a replica.

What do you guys think? Again, I’m 80% on an Interstate, but these do look pretty cool.



If I were in your shoes and could spare the cash I would 100% build a 961 lookalike. Just think of the benefits..
Very cool styling (In Manx colours of course)
Fantastic spares backup
No electronics. (unless you choose to).
No Fuel injection.
Ongoing improvement programs.


In fact if you do it right, it could probably be a better bike than a 961.

Cheers,

cliffa.
 
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Hi Cliffa, not to sound dumb...but what is a 961? Isn’t that a new bike?
 
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961 is Kenny Deers upgrade/redesign of the Commando which was sold on to Stuart Gardner and is the current Commando.
 

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